Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

reproductive anatomy
Source: By BruceBlaus – Own work, http//:commons.wikimedia.org

The symptoms of cervical cancer  or important to watch for .  Cervical cancer is cancer on the bottom portion of the uterus.  The cervix lies at the top part of your vagina.  If the cervix becomes infected with the sexually transmitted virus called HPV, it can sometimes cause changes on the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer.  This is usually a slow process, and may take years from the time the cervix is infected, to the time it becomes full blown cancer.

Cervical Cancer
Source: Lolaia – Norberak egina, httpscommons.wikimedia.org

Early on, there are often no symptoms at all for cervical cancer.  Fortunately, the Pap test is an easy way to detect early changes in the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer.   Early diagnosis usually means it is much easier to cure.  This is why it is recommended that you get cervical cancer screening (Pap tests ) on a regular basis instead of waiting until you start to see symptoms.

Fortunately, early diagnosis usually means it is much easier to cure.

Usually, as cervical cancer progresses, a woman might start to experience symptoms, so let’s go over those.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

  1. Bleeding with intercourse. IF the cervix has cancer on it, it bleeds very easily, sometimes if something bumps or touches it, it starts to bleed.  This might occur during intercourse.  If you have bleeding during or after intercourse, and you are not on your period, you should go have that checked out by your medical provider.
  2. Vaginal discharge. Discharge can mean lots of different things, BV, yeast infection, STIs (sexually transmitted infections), but it can also be a symptom of cervical cancer.    Discharge might be watery, mucousy or thick and smelly.  The only way to determine what is causing the discharge is to get a test at your medical provider’s office.
  3. Pain with intercourse. There are lots of things that can cause pain with intercourse, but it you are experiencing new pain, its best to have it checked it.
  4. Irregular bleeding. if you experience bleeding in between periods, or bleeding after menopause, or if your periods are heavier or longer than they used to be, these should be checked out.
  5. Back or Pelvic pain.  If the cervical cancer has become more advanced, you might experience low back pain or pelvic pain, pain down the back of your legs. You might also experience blood in your urine or stool.

Just as a reminder, all these symptoms have lots of different possible causes, they do not automatically mean cervical cancer, but they should be evaluated just in case, and they might mean that something else is going on.

Unlike most other cancers, cervical cancer is preventable. 

There are several things you can do to protect yourself against cervical cancer.

  1. Get your regular pap screening tests starting at age 21.  This test can pick up on cervical changes long before it ever turns into full blown cancer.
  2. Use a condom. A condom can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STI) including HPV.
  3. Get the HPV Vaccine. The HPV vaccine does not protect you against all the strains of HPV, but is does prevent 2 of the strains that are responsible 70 percent of cervical cancers.  It also prevents 2 strains that are responsible for 90 percent of the types of genital warts.

Unlike most other cancers, cervical cancer is preventable.   If you develop the HPV virus, it doesn’t mean you will get cancer.   But if you have it, you should keep up to date on the tests recommended by your Gynecologist.

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